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The Pomodoro Technique and ADHD


A productivity technique that many people with ADHD use to stay on task throughout the day is the Pomodoro Technique.

So what is this Pomodoro technique? This life hack was created in the

1980s by a guy named Francesco Cirillow. It was named Pomodoro because he used a timer at the time that was shaped like a tomato and rang after 25 minutes.

(Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.)


Basically, it breaks down your time working into manageable chunks and helps you stay focused on the work that you need to get done. As time blindness is one of our biggest issues, especially if we hyperfocus on something, by using this timer, we can manage our time better and prevent burnout.


It also allows us to limit our time being distracted. If you do wind up getting distracted by the Facebook or social media monkey, the alarm will go off after a certain amount of time, and you can reset yourself and get back on track with the actual work, and not fall down the rabbit hole for hours at a time.

How complicated does this need to be? Well, it depends on you, honestly. You can just use a kitchen timer or a timer on your phone or computer. Whatever tool works for you, there are several apps and websites that you can use to manage your time using this method. It is OK if you mess up. It is not the end of the world. Remember that baby steps are the goal. If you get distracted and forget your alarms or whatever, just reset and get back into it. So, now for an example:

  • Set up your timer and set it for 25-40 minutes. Work on each task on your task list, one-by one. Do nothing else. Do the best you can to stay focused.

  • When the timer goes off, set it again for 5-10 minutes. Then rest, look through the interwebs, go to the bathroom, do a quick stretch, whatever. Blowing off steam is the goal.

  • When that timer goes off, reset it for 25-40 minutes and go back to your task list.

  • Do that for 2 hours, and after each of the 2-hour sessions, you take a 15-20 minute break.

  • You can also use an additional 5-10 minutes here to check your emails, reply, add any tasks that need to be done, and adjust priorities if something important comes up that you can’t delegate away.

  • After two cycles, you take a 1-1.5 hour break (lunch, relax and chill, play with the kids, etc).

  • Once it’s time to work again, you set the timer and start the process over for another 2 cycles of 2 hours each.

  • You can adjust this and do however many 2 hour chunks as you like. The example above is for a standard 9 hour workday, and has been proven to actually provide more productivity than standard work practices.

This technique also works well when combined with Body Doubling and is a proven method for helping keep people with ADHD on task throughout the day. If you need help learning how ADHD affects you, how to use tools like this, then schedule a session today and let’s talk about how!


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